Major League Baseball's new single July 31 trade deadline is less than three full weeks away. And, at some point between now and then, the New York Yankees will add a starting pitcher. Which starter, exactly? I'm not sure. But the Yankees adding a starter is a near certainty.
On Friday, Yankees GM Brian Cashman appeared on MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM to discuss his team's pursuit of pitching help. Here's the audio:
"Our interest is improving our pitching," Cashman said. "Certainly the target would be to continue to reinforce the rotation because obviously that's where the majority of your innings are going to have to come from, and we have a long way to go. Those innings are vitally important. We're going to target starting pitching, and if not, we're going to continue to reinforce the bullpen. Bottom line is just trying to add quality to what we already have."
The Yankees are still without staff ace Luis Severino, who went down with shoulder inflammation in spring training and has since suffered multiple setbacks with his lat. He could be given the thumbs up to start throwing this weekend, at which point he will essentially have to go through spring training. Point is, Severino's return is not imminent. New York's rotation depth chart currently looks something like this:
- Luis Severino (out with shoulder and lat trouble)
- Masahiro Tanaka
- James Paxton
- CC Sabathia
- Domingo German
- J.A. Happ
- Nestor Cortes
- David Hale
Paxton (knee), Sabathia (knee), and German (hip) all spent time on the injured list in the first half. At one point the Yankees were using setup man Chad Green as an opener every fifth day, and pairing him with Cortes, Hale, and others. Right now, New York's rotation is as healthy as it's been all season, though of course they're still going to be without Severino for some time.
The most rumored rotation trade targets this summer include Giants ace Madison Bumgarner, Tigers lefty Matthew Boyd, Blue Jays righty Marcus Stroman, and Indians righty Trevor Bauer. Other trade candidates could (and likely will) emerge as the deadline approaches and non-contenders decide to sell. For now, the rotation market is fairly limited.
At 57-31, the Yankees come into the second half with the best record in the American League and the second best record in baseball. They are 6 1/2 games up on the Rays in the AL East.